Owatonna Arts Center

West Hills Campus has a history of being a people place. Built originally as the State School for Dependent and Neglected Children, it is fully utilized today as the city complex with offices and recreational services for the community. The Arts Center adds significantly to this vibrant community.

The Owatonna Foundation has funded several important projects at the Arts Center: the construction of a catering kitchen, restrooms, and lighting and sound system in the galleries, performance hall and studio. Many visitors are impressed with the elegant surroundings and well-equipped studios. The Owatonna Foundation has made it possible for the Arts Center to have those amenities that best present this historic structure while giving the community a state-of-the-art facility to showcase local artists. The Performing Arts Hall is considered by some as “Owatonna’s Living Room,” and is the center of numerous public and private functions hosted at the Arts Center.

The Owatonna Arts Center is a welcoming place to enjoy a gallery exhibition, musical performance, or take a class. Grants from the Owatonna Foundation, help make the arts available to our community.

Little Theatre of Owatonna

The Owatonna Foundation has awarded four grants to the Little Theatre of Owatonna (LTO) for upholstering the auditorium seats, air conditioning the auditorium, updating the lighting and sound system, and other capital improvements.

When upholstering the auditorium seats, LTO used the grant money from the Foundatoin and raised the rest of the money from donations from members and local businesses. The same was true for the matching grant for air conditioning the auditorium.

Little Theatre Dressing RoomThese grants improved the comfort of the auditorium for audiences as well as the backstage area for the actors, actresses and technical crews, with remodeling to the makeup and dressing rooms. They also made it possible for the auditoriam to meet ADA requirement with hearing aids and handicapped seating.

Interest in our community theatre continues to grow. Improving the facility has created more opportunities for involvement by local actors, directors and technical people (costumes, hair, makeup, lights, set construction, props, etc.). LTO has over 900 members and the grants from the Owatonna Foundation have enhanced the overall theater experience, not only for those on stage and backstage but for members of the community who come to enjoy the plays.

Central Park Bandstand

Bandstand winter sceneThe Owatonna Foundation provided significant financial support for the design and construction of the Central Park Bandstand in 2004. This facility is a replica of the bandstand that stood on the exact same site at the end of the 19th Century. One major improvement to the original bandstand, is that one wall of the new facility, by means of hydraulic actuators, converts the vertical wall into a large horizontal stage, running the length of the building.

Bandstand openEach summer, “Eleven at Seven,” the Arts Festival, and dozens of performance events attract local citizens and visitors to downtown Owatonna.

The building also provides bathrooms for event attendees and downtown shoppers and visitors.

Bandstand pictures used by permission from the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.